General. The Hearing Officer need not strictly follow
the rules of evidence. The Massachusetts Rules of Evidence do not apply but the
Hearing Officer shall observe any privilege conferred by statute such as social
worker-client, doctor-patient and attorney-client privileges. Only evidence
which is relevant and material may be admitted and may form the basis of the
decision. Unduly repetitious or irrelevant evidence may be excluded.
Oral testimony shall be given under oath or affirmation; however, changes may
be made in the oath if requested on the grounds of religious principles. All
testimony shall be subject to the pains and penalties of perjury. Witnesses
shall be available for examination and cross-examination.
Statutes and regulations of a state or federal agency shall be admitted into
evidence upon the submission of a copy.
Other Documents or Written
Material. All documents and written material admitted into
evidence shall be authenticated to the satisfaction of the Hearing Officer.
Written material from the Appellant's Department file shall be admitted without
Stipulations. The parties may stipulate to facts or to
testimony that a witness would have given.
Fair Hearings of Support
Decision and Alleged Perpetrator Listing. In any case in which an
appellant is challenging a Department decision to support a report of abuse or
neglect or to list a person's name on the Registry of Alleged Perpetrators, a
copy of the report and investigation required by M.G.L. c. 119, §51A and B
shall be admitted into evidence. When reviewing a support decision or an
Alleged Perpetrator listing, the hearing officer may consider information
available during the investigation and new information subsequently discovered
or provided that would either support or detract from the Departments